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Good military/aviation books

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I just picked up two good books at Border's the other day. They were in the bargain books section, which seems to be pretty standard between stores. I got "A Day in the Life of the United States Armed Forces" for $5.95 . It is made be the folks that did the others of the same name. Definite bargain. The other is "The Encyclopedia of Modern Military Aircraft" for $19.95. It is by far the best aircraft encyclopedia I've ever seen. I highly recommend both books, especially for such low prices.

[ 30. January 2005, 17:32: Message edited by: c17wannabe ]

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Try Amazon.com and you will find them even cheaper. I won't get on my soapbox about professional reading, but if you think you might make the military a career, you can build a personal library for very little cost on Amazon.

While we are recommending books let me add my favorite;

If you are only going to read one book to increase you understanding about our current military try;

The Transformation of American Airpower ;

by Ben Lambeth.

It is a good read that explains how American airpower has matured since Vietnam. There are some real good stories that may place current USAF and USN aircraft and tactics into perspective.

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Guest CrewDawg1

I just got done reading "Eye of the viper," by Peter Aleshire. It seems like a good book from someone who hasn't been there. It follows a class going through the B-course at Luke.

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I've read "The Transformation of American Airpower" by Ben Lambeth, and highly recommend it to anyone interested in how our Air Force has evolved into the dominant force in today's military. It is a great book! I also read "Eye of the Viper" by Peter Aleshire over Christmas and it was a great insight for future pilot wanna bees. However both fighter types and heavy types can learn something from the book. I thought it really gave a good insight into how much work UPT studs have ahead of them no matter what route they take. Just remember, the studying never stops!

A few of my other personal favorites that I highly recommend:

Storm over Iraq By: Dick Hallion

Excellent summary and analysis of the use of Air Power as a decisive force in Gulf War I

Heart of the Storm By: Col. Rich Reynolds

Discusses the battle that was fought inside the Pentagon before Gulf War I to setup the Air War. Great read!

The Air Campaign By: Col. John Warden

Airpower basics every airman should be aware of.

Airpower in the Gulf By: James P. Coyne

In-depth discussion of Air Power in Gulf War I

The New Face of War By: Bruce Berkowitz

Where technology is taking us in the future, focusing mainly on how important winning the information war will be in the future.

There is a Chief of Staff reading list out there that has a bunch of "recommended" books for Air Force officers to read depending on their rank.

CSAF Reading List

If you've got some time on your hands I highly recommend getting your hands on some of them. It used to be that you could write Air University Press at Maxwell and score yourself a bunch of the books on the CSAF's list for free. Donno if that’s still a possibility or not.

As ClearedHot pointed out if you're looking to make the Air Force a career it’s a great idea to start your own personal library and learning about where we've been, what exactly it is we do, and why do it do damn well. If you're only going to read one I agree with ClearedHot...read Lambeth's book.

Cheers,

BeerMan

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Originally posted by Clearedhot:

I won't get on my soapbox about professional reading, but if you think you might make the military a career, you can build a personal library for very little cost on Amazon.

Clearedhot,

I am not trying to provoke you, but can you give me a summary of your soapbox on professional reading? Are you in favor of it or against it?

I think it is probably safe to say that most officers/pilots/college graduates have done and continue to do some reading on various subjects that interest them.

Just curious.

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Originally posted by JS:

Clearedhot,

I am not trying to provoke you, but can you give me a summary of your soapbox on professional reading? Are you in favor of it or against it?

I think it is probably safe to say that most officers/pilots/college graduates have done and continue to do some reading on various subjects that interest them.

Just curious.

I know professional reading is not always a popular subject so I almost never mention it on here. I do think it is a responsibility if you are going to make the USAF a career. I had a great boss early on who would actually assign the Lts a book each month then take us all to breakfast to talk about it. We all would grumble and complain but the books were not that bad. Some of the books were on leadership but most of it was about airpower and stories from guys who flew in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. I actually learned a lot in spite of myself.

Now I am a bit older and the lessons are starting to make sense. I am not the greatest leader in the world but I have been in a position to influence decisions and tactics so I am glad I have a foundation to base my inputs on. As I have said before I am currently on an exchange tour with the USMC attending a school called the School of Advanced Warfighting (SAW). The USAF has a similar school called the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (SAASS). These are both strategic level schools that focus on campaign design and the reading load is immense. I typically read a book a day, usually around 1500 pages a week. And I thought going through Weapons School was tough…It can be tiring at times, and I am thankful it is only for a year, but it has changed the way I think. If you are really interested in learning about how we fight, why we fight, and how to solve problems, I suggest you take a look at one of these schools.

My personal opinion is that anyone who is going to be a flight commander, DO, or CC should have done some basic reading on leadership. I am not talking about the freaking L model or whatever it was they taught us at SOS and ACSC, I mean something like Churchill’s Biography, or Robbie Risner’s book. Interesting books that will give you tools to be a leader and avoid stupid mistakes. Ultimately your job will be to take care of people. I have had great bosses that I would have followed anywhere. I have had knuckleheads including one who called me off my Honeymoon to go to a F@#$ing Blue Flag, both taught me the type of leader I want to be and the type of leader I want to avoid.

Okay, off the soapbox, back to talking about flying and drinking beer in Austin.

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Guest delta

Are there any good books out there discussing life while at UPT? I've never been able to find some good reading material (other than peoples journals) about UPT life day in and day out type stuff. Anyone know of anything out there?

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A guy in my UPT class (Scott Anderson), wrote a book about UPT, RTU, and flying in the Guard. The book is called "Unknown Rider" and you can find it on Amazon.com for $6.00. Scott's first book "Distant Fires" is another great read.

Unfortunately, Scott was killed in a crash in 1999.

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Guest dustanas

Some more recommendations:

Fighter Wing by Tom Clancy. Describes the evolution of weapons systems and the Air Force itself (fromt TAC, SAC, etc to ACC, AMC, etc). Some really good descriptions of combat aircraft and their performance, avionics and armament. I enjoyed learning about things like LANTIRN, FLIR, whatever.

I'm also reading Flyboys by James Bradley right now. It's about the nine airmen who went missing in the Pacific during WWII. Only one (George H.W. Bush) was found. It's a great story and gives a lot of background on the United States' relationship with Japan as well as some stuff on the development of US air power.

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I will never turn down a good book, and Air University Pree will send some to you for free if you are on active duty. I can't remember or find the URL at the moment try this URL; but I am not sure if that works because I can't access .AF.MIL sites from home. I will try once I get to work), but I will hunt it down as it is a great opportunity that many people either aren't aware of or don't take advantage of. I picked up A-10s Over Kosovo through AU Press, yet another great book!

Cheers! M2

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If you want a good textbook type read hunt down

The Limits Of Airpower: The American Bombng Of North Vietnam By Mark Clodfelter. Kind of tough but worth it pain.

I am still working on it because there are only so many hours in a day for a college student.

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A couple of suggestions not yet mentioned:

Thud Ridge & Going Downtown by Jack Broughton, both an interesting history of the USAF involvement with the pack 6 routes up north between 66 and 68. The latter book is probably the more interesting of the two, encapsulating the ordeal suffered by the author when the bomber mafia running PACAF went after him for being a stand up guy who protected his troops from being chewed up for inadvertantly violating some of the dumbest ROE U.S. fighting men have ever been subject to.

As far a professional airmanship goes, I can't help but be a cheerleader for Tony Kern's books:

Redefining Airmanship, Flight Discipline, and Darker Shades of Blue. Tony is responsible for AETC's first CRM training program, was a FAIP, KC-135 & B-1 AC/IP, taught history at the zoo, and is now a retiree engaged in what will be industry changing human factors work on how organizations learn and manage error. I've had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Kern and hearing his presentations several times. You will not find a more humble, dedicated warrior for safety. He'd deny it, but he's definetely one of those "fifty pound brain" guys. Anyone willing to read his books with an open mind and act honestly on his recommendations will find their entire existance as an aviator changed for the better.

Happy Reading!

[ 03. February 2005, 11:18: Message edited by: LJDRVR ]

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I read a book called Chickenhawk a while back about a Vietnam pilot in the Army that all Army pilots were required to read, but not sure if they do anymore. Anyways just wondering if anyone knows any more good Nam books

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Originally posted by Ryder1587:

I read a book called Chickenhawk a while back about a Vietnam pilot in the Army that all Army pilots were required to read, but not sure if they do anymore. Anyways just wondering if anyone knows any more good Nam books

If you want to read a great book about heroism and dedication in Vietnam try "Into the Mouth of the Cat". This book is the story of Lance Sijan, USAF Medal of Honor winner.

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There is also s good book by Col. Bernie Fisher. He is another Air Force Medal Of Honor Winner in Vietnam when he landed his plane and picked up a shot down pilot during a fight in the A Shau Valley in March of 1966. Sorry I can't emember the title.

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The Capt. Sijan story is one of the most moving and inspiring stories I've ever heard. I suggest that everybody at least look it up on the web, if you don't read the book that CH mentioned. That was one hard core dedicated dude and when you read about his problems, all of your's will seem insignificant.

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Agree with Thud Ridge - I just read that about a year ago. I always have to give a plug for "Strike Eagle" by William Smallwood about the debut of the Strike Eagle in the Gulf War.

Another good one, and a fairly quick read, is "Stranger to the Ground," by Richard Bach. It's a fictionalized account of his experience in an F-84 turned into a the story of a pilot (himself) sent an a single ship mission to ferry classified documents through a storm across Europe.

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Guest Ryan Paul

I agree with Toro that Strike Eagle is a good read. So are Every Man a Tiger and Vipers in the Storm (minus all of the sappy love letter parts).Oh yeah, Warthog:Flying the A-10 in the Gulf War was a great read as well.

I just read a review of this book (Unknown Rider)on Amazon and one guy said it was a work of fiction. Is it fiction or does this guy not know the definition of fiction?
JS,

I have this book. It is fiction, but it's still a decent read. I'll mail it to you if you'd like. - Ryan

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OK, here is the correct URL for ordering publications from the AU Press web site...

http://www.maxwell.af.mil/au/aul/aupress/catalog/form1.htm

You can search from this URL...

http://www.maxwell.af.mil/au/aul/aupress/

You can also download/order books from the USAF History Office at:

http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/publications.htm

These are great deals and I highly encourage everyone to take advantage of them!

Cheers! M2

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I'd recommend "The Passing of the Night" by Gen Robbie Risner. My wife got that when she went to ALS. Great book. "Flyboys" was also an excellent read, although the section on GWB was only a few pages as he was not taken prisoner on Chichi Jima, but he was bombing the radio station on that island.

Tom Clancy's "Fighter Wing" is also pretty good.

I think we should have a "Base.Ops reading list" than the CSAF's list.

[ 04. February 2005, 09:12: Message edited by: Mambo ]

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Originally posted by JS:

I just read a review of this book on Amazon and one guy said it was a work of fiction. Is it fiction or does this guy not know the definition of fiction?

It is fiction, but it was based directly on Anderson's UPT experience.

I agree--this is the best book out there about the UPT experience as a student. It is a little out of date, here in the SUPT/T-6/T-38C age, but it still is really informative.

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Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer. While it isn't aviation related, it's an awesome book with great examples of the type of leader to be and not to be. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe it's required reading at West Point and used to be at the Air Force Academy (might still be). It's about 1300 pages, so it's a long one, but well worth it.

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Three of my favorites:

1. Gods of Tin by James Salter. Story of the flying years of a Korean War pilot flying the F-86 (the most pure of all the fighters, IMHO). Short read but a good one.

2. By Any Means Necessary by William E. Burrows. AWESOME READ about the efforts and history of shoot-downs of Americas recon crews during the Cold War and beyond. Great stories from a hostory you dont ever get the full story on from textbooks. Some of it will blow your mind!

3. Tail of the Storm by Alan Cockrell. ANOTHER AWESOME READ. Mostly details the Gulf War flying of the author, an A-7 pilot turned C-141 driver for the Mississippi Air Guard. Awesome. Simple as that. Any wannabee heavy drivers out there, pick this one up... most everything that is detailed in his accounts of flying the 141 still rings true today.

Chuck

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